Darien considers temporary ban on selling recreational marijuana in town

Photo of a marijuana plant. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Photo of a marijuana plant. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Dreamstime / TNS

DARIEN — Town officials are considering a temporary ban on selling recreational marijuana in town following the new law that went into effect this summer.

The town already prohibits the sale of marijuana under its current zoning laws, but the Planning and Zoning Commission is considering a more formal moratorium similar to ones passed in Greenwich and Westport.

“The town of Darien zoning regulations have never allowed the sale of marijuana,” said Jeremy Ginsberg, Darien’s planning and zoning director said at a recent meeting. “That continues to be the standard in the regulations. Nobody has changed that.”

He said more communities though, especially those in Fairfield County, are starting to pass one- or two-year moratoriums now that the state allows recreational cannabis facilities.

Ginsberg said Darien’s planning commission can take a similar approach and draft a formal proposal with background on the topic that would add a specific section in the regulations specifying it’s not allowed.

Moratoriums can be overturned by referendum, officials said.

People also aren’t allowed to grow marijuana or cannabis in town, something officials are also considering continuing.

Commission chairman Stephen Olvany said the law allows growing in industrial zones, but there aren’t any of those zones in Darien.

He said he’s also asked for some input from the police chief before the commission makes a decision.

Some commissioners said the moratorium would give them a chance to gather more input from what nearby communities are doing, including cities and smaller towns more similar to Darien’s makeup. This includes the selling, growing and cultivating parts of the operation and in what kinds of zones.

“There are certain communities that do want these in their communities because it is a tax revenue issue,” Olvany said.

Ginsberg said other towns are just starting to work on such regulations, but would pass along feedback to the commission about where other municipalities stand.

“Keep in mind the law just took effect July 1, so it’s only been in effect for 66 days or so,” he said. “It hasn’t been around long.”